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Pampered to the Core; Seasonal Jumbo Spas of India

Feb 07, 2018

Pampered to the Core; Seasonal Jumbo Spas of India
Pampered to the Core; Seasonal Jumbo Spas of India | Credit: Sasha Smirnova

After some hard day’s work, everyone deserves a soothing spa experience to rejuvenate ourselves. But when it comes to a majestic creature like elephants, they need some extra care to calm their gigantic bodies and minds. 

Even though India consists of over 70 percent of the global population of Asian elephants, it is not the best known place for its empathy or compassion towards these gentle creatures. But once in a year, the temples and elephant owners give their pachyderms a break to recover from their year-long hard work. 

Spread over 5 acres of land, the elephants undergo complete medical check ups here. The elephants would be taken for 10 rounds of walk twice a day and the veterinary doctors would prescribe nutritious food like palm shoots, coconut shoots, bamboo and corn stalks.

The month of Karkidakam in Kerala means time for rejuvenating therapies both for humans and elephants. It basically falls between July and August. With the coming of Karkidakam, the monsoon rainfall enters its final phase in Kerala and according to the tradition this period of the year is considered ideal for undergoing Ayurvedic treatments, since the body is considered highly receptive during this period.

This is the time when the jumbos too get their spa holiday. A herd of 64 elephants along with their mahouts assemble at  Punnathur Kotta in Guruvayur, a former fort and palace which has been now turned to an elephant camp. Here a team of veterinary doctors assess the elephants and prescribe individual spa regimen for each one of them. The elephants are given a bath in the river, morning and evening, by two mahouts. They are massaged with pumice stones and coconut husks to improve blood circulation. Then they are fed green fodder including palms, leaves, grass, sugarcane and sorghum. Daily meals comprise of cooked rice mixed with jaggery, coconut and turmeric. Multivitamins are also given during this time.

But after taking a look at the luxurious bath and feast, most of us would feel that it is only a small reward for the hard work they do for a whole year. Let us realize the fact that they belong to the wild and it is where they should actually be protected.